There is reason to be optimistic when teams peak right before the postseason but at the same time, there is reason to be concerned when a minor implosion seems to be taking place. And unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, with now eight losses in their last 11, things are looking less promising day-by-day.
After Yasiel Puig lit the baseball world on fire back in June, it really seemed like there was nothing the Dodgers couldn’t do. Puig tore the cover off of the baseball, the LA pitching was absolutely unhittable and the team went on a record stretch winning 42 of 50 games. The massive payroll was finally living up to expectations and no shortage of championship hopes began to spring up in the city of angels. Everything was going right for the Dodgers.
But you know how that goes; everything was going right until suddenly it wasn’t. For the Dodgers, this meant the month of September.
After opening up the month 3-0 and in the midst of a six-game winning streak, the proverbial wheels started to come off for the Dodgers. With half of the month gone, LA has only managed to win six games in September. They have lost eight total but more concerning is that those eight have come in the last 11. The Dodgers are crashing and burning at the worst possible time and it could spell postseason disaster.
During this awful stretch, the LA Dodgers have let a chance for the best record and home field advantage in the NL begin to slip away from them. The Atlanta Braves despite their own September woes still lead in that category, three games ahead of LA. The Pittsburgh Pirates have moved into second, with a record one game better than the Dodgers. In fact, if the regular season ended today, only the Cincinnati Reds would have a worst record in the NL.
If the St. Louis Cardinals won the wildcard play-in game, that would leave the Dodgers as the fourth, also known as last, seed. They would then be pitted against the Braves, who ironically enough have also not gotten the memo about the importance of being hot going into the playoffs. And maybe at this point, LA would rather face the Braves than the Cardinals, Pirates or even the Reds as all three teams which are heating up at exactly the right time as they fight for positioning and the NL Central title.
For LA, their struggles have been in losing close-games, something before September was never an issue. Six of LA’s eight September losses have been in one-run games. Before September, the Dodgers were 19-12 in those such games and an incredible 9-2 in the second half.
In the postseason, the Dodgers should expect close games and pitching duels. If they can’t win in those situations, then yet another year of missed opportunity and failure will persist in LA, a team that hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009. And in the 2009 playoffs, three of LA’s games were decided by one run and the Dodgers won just two of them.
This slump really couldn’t have come at a worse time for LA.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.